Orgamosers of Vélo Birmingham have announced "an exciting new change" to the 100-mile closed road route.
Starting on Broad Street in central Birmingham on Sunday September 24, the 100-mile fully closed road route will take 15,000 cyclists on a breathtaking journey from city to country – passing through Worcestershire, via Sandwell, Dudley and Staffordshire.
The new route replaces a 20-mile section that passed through Herefordshire with the same distance in the beautiful county of Staffordshire.
The finish line will be on Broad Street where riders will be directed to the Barclaycard Arena (NIA) – Vélo Birmingham’s official finish venue – to celebrate their achievement.
Extensive road closures will be in place throughout the day – full details will be available here
The route has been agreed in partnership with Birmingham City Council, Worcestershire County Council, Staffordshire County Council, Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council and Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council as well as emergency services and transport operators to minimise the inconvenience of the necessary road closures.
Organisers are posting out a detailed information letter to all homes on the route over the next few weeks.
The route change is a result of ongoing work between organisers CSM Active and its local authority partners "to address issues which inevitably arise from an event with road closures of this scale."
The new section of the route will take 15,000 riders through beautiful Staffordshire towns and villages including Kinver, Wombourne and Trysull, passing famous local landmarks such as Stourton Castle and Highgate Common.
The detailed route and road closure information will be released shortly and CSM Active, in partnership with all local authorities hosting the route, says it will continue to work closely with businesses and residents along the route to minimise the impact of the road closures.
General entries for the event sold out within just four days of going on sale.
But you can still enter via one of Vélo Birmingham’s official charity partners: Alzheimer’s Society, Cure Leukaemia, NSPCC and Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham.
It is anticipated that participants will raise well over £1 million for a range of different charities.
In addition to the charity entries, prospective participants can also secure their place on the start line via the Business 100 entry option and be in with a chance of riding alongside World Cup winning former England Rugby captain Martin Johnson CBE.
Rugby hero Martin Johnson is an ambassador for he event and West Brom goal keeper Ben Foster is taking part.
Supported by the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce and The Birmingham Post, the Vélo Birmingham Business 100 provides the business community with a unique opportunity to experience an unrivalled VIP participation experience with extensive networking opportunities.
Only a limited number of Business 100 teams are left, so if you would like your company to enter visit here and secure your place now.
If you are not able to take part in the cycling event there are also volunteering opportunities to ensure it runs as smoothly as possible
To register your interest to be a volunteer visit here
To find out more, please visit here
Why West Brom goalkeeper Ben Foster is taking part
Ben Foster, West Bromwich Albion goalkeeper and Cure Leukaemia Ambassador said: “It is no secret that I am a big cycling fan and I am really looking forward to riding Vélo Birmingham for Cure Leukaemia in September.
“It will be very special to have 15,000 people cycling 100 miles on closed roads around the City and I have friends, family and colleagues riding with me. It is going to be an amazing event and I would encourage anyone interested in taking part to contact Cure Leukaemia and join our team.
“It is a fantastic, local charity with an additional £1m to raise in 2017 and every single member of the team will be helping them reach their inspirational goal so I’d urge people to sign up today.”
What the organisers say
Jon Ridgeon, Executive Chairman of organisers CSM Active said: “This route has been a long time in planning and we are delighted to be able to finally unveil it. “We believe it shows off the very best of Birmingham and the West Midlands and we are confident participants are going to be blown away with how spectacular the route is.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank Birmingham City Council, Herefordshire Council, Staffordshire County Council, Worcestershire County Council, Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council and Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council for being so supportive of the event and facilitating the necessary road closures.”
Why the local councils are supporting the event
Deputy Leader of Birmingham City Council Councillor Ian Ward said: “Birmingham has a proud history of hosting a wide range of national and international sporting events, so we are extremely excited about welcoming 15,000 cyclists from far and wide to our magnificent city in September for the rare opportunity of a closed road sportive.
“I am sure all those taking part will relish the opportunity of being able to ride through the city centre on completely closed roads as well as taking on the rest of the course through the wonderful countryside of our region.”
Councillor Hilary Bills, Dudley Cabinet Member responsible for transport, said: “We’re delighted that Dudley borough will feature as part of the first ever Vélo Birmingham sportive taking in 100 miles of Midlands’ roads. I hope that residents will get behind the event and turn out on the day to cheer on the thousands of riders taking part.”
Councillor Richard Marshall, Sandwell Council’s Cabinet Member for leisure, said: “This promises to be a very exciting event for the Midlands and we look forward to giving a big Sandwell welcome to everyone taking part as they ride through our section of the route.”
Councillor Dr Ken Pollock, Worcestershire Council Cabinet Member for Economy, Skills and Infrastructure said: “We are delighted to welcome the Vélo Birmingham Sportive to Worcestershire.
"Past events have been very successful in putting the spotlight on the county and showcasing what we have to offer.
“There have been good economic outcomes following the previous events and organisers have commented on the extremely warm welcome and tangible excitement from Worcestershire Residents.”
Councillor Simon Geraghty, leader of Worcestershire County Council added: “It is a pleasure to see this event coming to Worcestershire.
"Cycling is a great way to see our beautiful countryside and events like this create a buzz of excitement. As well as the economic benefits, it also promotes good health and well-being, which is a key priority for the council.”
Staffordshire County Council’s cabinet member for highways and transport Mark Deaville said: “This promises to be a memorable event for the region and has taken a lot of planning by the organisers and councils.
“We’re sure people will be supporting those taking part in the challenge and that they’ll have an enjoyable day. While the route only goes through a small part of our county, there may be an impact on surrounding roads so we’d ask people to plan journeys in advance if they’re in that area on the day.”
Upon crossing the start line on Broad Street, riders will exit the city centre of Birmingham via Hagley Road, enabling them to get in a group right from the off and find a comfortable pace as they settle into the ride.
The miles will fly by as riders make their way through Halesowen and Stourbridge and before long riders will approach the first Rider Pit Stop, providing them with an opportunity to have a breather, re-hydrate and stock up on some energy products.
Up next, it’s the picturesque village of Bewdley – an attractive Georgian town that sits directly upon the River Severn. This is the first in a long line of beautiful locations riders will pass through as they complete their epic 100 mile journey.
Upon leaving Bewdley, riders will briefly hug the River Severn before getting their first taste of the sprawling countryside that characterises so much of the route. At mile 30, riders will encounter the official King & Queen of the Mountain climb – the notorious Stanford Bank.
At just under a mile long with an average gradient of 8 per cent, this is a challenging climb and will test even the most experienced of riders.
Upon completion of the KOM challenge riders’ legs will be aching, but their spirits will be lifted by the panoramic views across the spectacular Worcestershire and Staffordshire countryside.
Riders can then look forward to some exhilarating descents as they make their way towards the second Rider Pit Stop and then the beautiful, unspoilt market town of Bromyard.
Despite the absence of any major climbs, the third quarter of the route is characterised by undulating country roads, enabling riders to tick off the miles as they appreciate the beautiful scenery that surrounds them.
The highlight is undoubtedly the Anglo-Saxon settlement of Clifton-upon-Thame, a village and civil parish in the Malvern Hills district of Worcestershire.
Upon leaving Clifton-upon-Thame riders will enjoy a thrilling descent into Martley before making their way towards the penultimate Rider Pit Stop of the day.
Despite starting off relatively flat as riders make their way through the quaint village of Belbroughton – home of the famous Scarecrow Festival - the elevation soon kicks up as they approach the infamous St Kenelm’s pass.
At 1.5 miles with an average of 5.2 per cent (max of 10 per cent in some places), this climb certainly packs a punch.
When riders reach the top they will be able to re-fuel at our fourth and final feed station ready for one final push towards the finish line located on Broad Street.
Upon crossing the finish line, riders will be directed into the iconic Barclaycard Arena where they will be able to celebrate their amazing achievement with fellow riders, friends and family!